March Fires

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March Fires
Birds of Tokyo - March Fires.jpg
Studio album by Birds of Tokyo
Released 1 March 2013 (2013-03-01)
Recorded February - October 2012
(see recording)
Genre Alternative rock, indie rock
Length 47:25
Label EMI
Producer Dave Cooley
Birds of Tokyo chronology
This Fire (EP)
(2012)This Fire (EP)2012
March Fires
(2013)
Anchor (EP)
(2015)Anchor (EP)2015
Singles from March Fires
  1. "This Fire"
    Released: 5 October 2012
  2. "Lanterns"
    Released: 14 January 2013
  3. "When the Night Falls Quiet"
    Released: 22 April 2013

March Fires is the fourth studio album by Western Australian alternative rock band Birds of Tokyo. It was released on 1 March 2013 in Australia, North American and Europe through EMI. It is the band's second major-label studio album release after 2010's Birds of Tokyo under EMI. It is also the first album by the band not to feature founding member Anthony Jackson, after he had left the band in 2011. His replacement, Ian Berney, makes his debut appearance on the album as the band's new bassist.[1]

March Fires released to very positive reviews, and the album became the band's first ARIA #1 album and also marked the band's international album chart debut, charting at #26 on the RIANZ album chart.[2]

Recording[edit]

Birds of Tokyo entered the studio to record their fourth studio album in February 2012.[3] The album was primarily recorded in Los Angeles, California on the western United States. The band recorded over a 6-month period lasting until July. Kingsize Studio and The Hobby Shop in Eagle Rock, along with the Sound Factory and Oceanway Studios in Hollywood hosted these sessions. A final week-long session was conducted in October 2012 at The Hoop Hut in Sydney, Australia before the album officially ceased recording later that month.[4] The album is notably the first album to feature bassist Ian Berney, after founding member and previous bassist Anthony Jackson left the band due to spiritual reasons. March Fires is the first ever material released by the band not to be recorded with Jackson.[5]

Packaging[edit]

The artwork for March Fires and its singles were created by Australian graphic designer, art director, and album artist Leif Podhajsky. Podhajsky's work explores themes of connectedness, love, fear, magic, the relevance of nature and the psychedelic or altered experience, and uses techniques such as pattern, recursion, balance, symmetry and repetition.[6] By utilizing these subjects he attempts to "coerce the viewer into a realignment with themselves and their surroundings".[7] Podhajsky's work has been described as "striking abstractions of nature – mirrored vistas, engulfing waves, rippling, melting cosmic landscapes". He had previously worked with other bands over the past few years to produce album artwork such as The Vines' 2011 album, Future Primitive and Tame Impala's albums Innerspeaker and Lonerism.[8]

Promotion[edit]

Singles[edit]

"This Fire" was released as the lead single from March Fires on 5 October 2012. An accompanying extended play featuring album track "Boy" and B-side "Glowing in the Streets", along with a March Fires cut entitled "The Lake", was also released the same day.[9] The music video was released the previous day on 4 October 2012.[10]

"Lanterns" was released as the second single from the album on 14 January 2013.[11] The single has since become the band's most successful single, peaking at #3 on the Australian singles chart, the band's first top ten single. It was also notably #1 on the ARIA Australian artist singles chart for a total of nine weeks.[12] Additionally, it was also certified platinum, having sold over 70,000 copies of the single in Australia. The music video for the single debuted on 17 January 2013 and was shot in Sydney.[13]

"When the Night Falls Quiet" was solicited to Australian Contemporary hit radio on 21 April 2013 as the third single from March Fires.[14] The music video for the single debuted on the same day.[15]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
The Sydney Morning Herald 4/5 stars[16]
The West Australian 3/5 stars[17]
The Music very positive[18]
Rip It Up 4.5 / 5[19]
Tom Magazine 4/5 stars[20]

Critical reception[edit]

March Fires received generally positive reviews. Sean Palmer of The Sydney Morning Herald gave the album a 4-star review, stating that "March Fires is a gem and channels emotion but never to the point of nausea, leaving you feeling comfortable in the pleasant tones of a band that know what they are doing." He noted the stylistic similarities of the album to the band's previous work and wrote "There is nothing here to shock or bewilder unless you are expecting Birds of Tokyo to return to their alt-rock origins with a hardened edge. If that's the case, you will be in for a jolt of disappointment, as beneath Kenny's words there is an astounding sense of positivity - as though one can climb that mountain, fix that bridge or restore faith."[16] Simon Collins of The West Australian gave the album three stars, writing "Synth-laden mid-album tracks "The Others" and "White Leaves" briefly revive listeners, before they are plunged into a downbeat run home to "Hounds"."[17]

Rob Lyon of Rip It Up wrote "While this album has proved a popular move into a different direction for frontman Ian Kenny and his Birds, I hope they don’t completely abandon their rock roots." in response to the light departure from the band's previous works. He praised the album as a singular piece writing that "From start to end the album is a solid listening experience, offering more with every additional spin. The strength of March Fires is its consistency and how well it all hangs together, with nothing appearing out of place or disappointing. Some may focus on how much the songs sound the same, but for me this one is about taking in the whole experience rather than selected moments."[19]

Tom Noyse of TheMusic.com gave the album an overwhelmingly positive review, writing "This newfound experimentation from Birds Of Tokyo is fully apparent and it hits hard. The production is quite immaculate and is near the best they have yet created. March Fires is absolutely brilliant." Like other reviewers, he also noted of the band's musical evolution and light departure from their previous works; "Progression is inevitable. To evolve in music, you need to keep ideas fresh and move forward. This is truly evident in the fourth album by Perth-bred alternative rockers, Birds Of Tokyo.".[18] Nick Linde of Tom Magazine also gave the album a positive review, and also touched upon the difference of sound March Fires presented, writing "The new album from West Australian band Birds of Tokyo has a little bit of old and a little bit of new." He took note - "March Fires delivers a strong anthemic feel, coupled with the sound from the band that has taken off over the last few years."[20]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ian Berney, Ian Kenny, Glenn Sarangapany, Adam Spark and Adam Weston.[4]

No. Title Length
1. "Liquid Arms" 3:53
2. "This Fire" 4:47
3. "When the Night Falls Quiet" 4:01
4. "Motionless" 1:11
5. "Lanterns" 4:22
6. "The Others" 4:45
7. "White Leaves" 7:49
8. "Blume" 2:38
9. "Boy" 5:00
10. "Sirin" 5:18
11. "Hounds" 3:41

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from the March Fires liner notes.[4]

Charts, certifications and accolades[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Australia[24] 1 March 2013 Digital download, CD, LP EMI
Belgium[25] Digital download
Canada[26] Digital download, CD
France[27] Digital download
Germany[28]
Ireland[29]
Netherlands[30]
New Zealand[31] Digital download, CD, LP
United Kingdom[32] Digital download, CD
United States[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, Barnaby (21 March 2011). "Birds of Tokyo split with bassist". Music Feeds. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Birds Of Tokyo - March Fires". acharts.us. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Birds Of Tokyo Finished Writing". Facebook. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  4. ^ a b c March Fires (liner notes). Birds of Tokyo. EMI. 2013. 
  5. ^ "Birds of Tokyo bassist flies the coop". Triple J. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "Leif Podhajsky, the Man Behind the Album Cover". Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Leif Podhajsky - About". Leif Podhajsky. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Innerspeaker album art". leifpodhajsky.com. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "This Fire - EP". iTunes AU. Apple Inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "BIRDS OF TOKYO - THIS FIRE - OFFICIAL VIDEO". birdsoftokyo. YouTube, Google. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Lanterns - Single". iTunes AU. Apple Inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Birds of Tokyo - Lanterns". acharts.us. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "BIRDS OF TOKYO - LANTERNS - OFFICIAL VIDEO". birdsoftokyo. YouTube, Google. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Birds of Tokyo - When The Night Falls Quiet". Birds of Tokyo. SoundCloud. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  15. ^ "BIRDS OF TOKYO - WHEN THE NIGHT FALLS QUIET - OFFICIAL VIDEO". birdsoftokyo. YouTube, Google. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Palmer, Sean. "March Fires". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Collins, Simon. "REVIEW: March Fires". The West Australian. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Album - Birds of Tokyo - March Fires". The Music. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Lyon, Rob. "Birds Of Tokyo: March Fires". Rip It Up. Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Albums - Birds of Tokyo: March Fires". Tom Magazine. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  21. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Birds of Tokyo – March Fires". Hung Medien.
  22. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Birds of Tokyo – March Fires". Hung Medien.
  23. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  24. ^ "March Fires". iTunes AU. Apple inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  25. ^ "March Fires". iTunes BE. Apple Inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "March Fires". iTunes CA. Apple Inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  27. ^ "March Fires". iTunes FR. Apple Inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  28. ^ "March Fires". iTunes DE. Apple Inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  29. ^ "March Fires". iTunes IE. Apple Inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  30. ^ "March Fires". iTunes NL. Apple Inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  31. ^ "March Fires". iTunes NZ. Apple inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  32. ^ "March Fires". iTunes GB. Apple Inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  33. ^ "March Fires". iTunes US. Apple Inc. Retrieved 29 April 2013.